tv Charlie Rose PBS February 7, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, george clooney, actor and director and his producing partner grant heslov on their new film "monuments men." >> i was in l.a. heading to detroit and i forgot my book so i saw the cover of this book, it struck me, i opened the flap and i started reading on the plane and i thought, wow, this could be interesting. >> rose: you love directing. >> i love directing, yeah. it's the most creative thing i've ever been able to do. i think it's, you know -- grant's directed films as well and you know it's -- if you're acting or you're doing one thing and you're just -- you know, you're just part of a process you're like that paint and when you're directing you're the painter. you get to play with all the toys, the sound design and the
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: monuments men, signed by roosevelt. i want to put a team together and try to protect what's left and find what's missing. >> aren't you a little old far? >> yes. >> you want to go into a war zone and tell our boys what they can and cannot blow up? >> that's the idea. >> okay. i mean for now six. jesus. >> rose: george clooney and grant heslov are here. they are writing and producing partners. they have brought us "good night and good luck" "argo" and august osage county." their new movie follows an unlikely group of men and women targeting with rescuing nazi
looted art during world war ii. they wrote to film while george clooney directed here is the trailer. >> while we must and will win this war, we should remember the high price that will be paid, that the very foundation of modern society is destroyed. michaelangelo joked if you may you're just the man to make it. we have been tasked to find the art the nazis have stolen. >> the chaps are all very anxious to get started. we have your architect from chicago, a sculptor, a director of design at the school of fine arts and a few other experts in various fields of art. >> how are the fellows making snout >> like olympians. >> you want to go into a war zone and tell our boys what they can and cannot blow up? >> that's the idea. >> if you would just read the orders. >> i'll tell you what these orders say, don't -- >> they -- >> do not interrupt me, lieutenant. >> i think that went well. i'm going to start with a friend
in paris who will have some idea where the french art has been hidden. >> how can i help you? >> the nazis have taken everything with them so we have to get as close as-to-the front as we can. >> look at this, it says if hitler dies or germany falls they're to destroy everything. everything. >> we have to move. they tell us who cares about art but they're wrong, which is the exact reason we're fighting, for our culture, for our way of life. what is all this? >> this is life. >> come on, give me your hand! >> i'm proud of what we're doing
here. >> you're going to miss me so much when this is all over. >> all hell is breaking loose here. >> we have some unfinished business. >> i'm pleased to have george clooney and grant heslov at this table. welcome, great to have you here. >> thanks. >> pleasure to be here. >> so you are responsible for this project, aren't you? you found the book? >> i found the book, yes. >> and what did you do? >> i was in l.a. headed to detroit and i forgot my book so i just saw the cover of this book, it struck me, i opened the flap and i started reading on the plane and i thought, well, this could be interesting. and then i put it away, actually. and then -- >> yeah, then we were sitting around. we finished "ides of march" and we were working on "argo." and we had a conversation and we said "here's the thing, if you look at the films we've made over the last few years, and i'm very proud of what we've been doing, but they erl really cynical. and we're kind of the least
cynical people i know.". i said "we should do a movie with a happier ending. and grant goes "i read this book." and the story was amazing. i knew a lot about world war ii but i did not know the story. >> rose: neither had i until i read robert edsel. and sony and fox got together and said let's make it. >> we also liked the idea of -- >> rose: not many people can do that. >> the the idea of making a war film, a world war ii film was something that -- because we grew up on these kind of things. >> but we wanted it to be -- it's not "saving private ryan." we wanted it to be like "guns of naff roan" or "great escape" and it made room for it, this film where you could pack it with those stars like the old movies.
>> rose: so go ahead. >> so that's what happened. that's exactly how -- >> rose: >> we adapted the book and brought the sony executives to my house and we put them this gazebo and spent two days, grant and i, acting out the entire script for them. then we had some wine and they said "you're green lit, make the movie." >> and the point is that you have to get the executives drunk and then they'll green light the film. >> rose: so you have a script and then you have to cast the film. how did you go through the process of decide whoong is an all star cast. matt damon, cate blanchett, bill murray. >> when we wrote the script we wrote it with just about everybody in mind. >> rose: oh, really. because you saw them in blind as a particular character in the film? >> we hood cards, write it on a piece of paper. and as we were working on the characters we would say "this is bill murray, he would be great
opposite bob balaban because of the size difference." and john goodman and jean du jar -- jar din. he's such a charming guy. for >> because you've been in the oscar circuit. (laughs) >> i should have blown him up on the very first scene. but the only one we hadn't figured out was bob balaban. and we worked out of the party and he goes "ball ban." and. >> rose: what are the challenges? >> the scope of it, a lot of the stuff you end up doing is through computer graphics. a that's something something we do a whole lot of. so it was about being
unbelievably prepared because we didn't want them to look like computer graphic which is a lot of films do. because it's a period piece it had to look very authentic. but the biggest challenge i think we had wouldn't you say was the weather? >> well, in terms of shooting, yeah. the weather was -- we needed a little bit of snow and cold but we basically had it for the whole -- >> rose: in may. >> and there were no leaves on the trees and snow. we were throughout with flame throwers literally melting snow. >> rose: the challenge of finding the focus for this story finding your timeline, finding your structure. >> yeah, that was our biggest challenge. >> rose: how did you do that? >> well, you know, we -- we sort of decided that there were a couple pieces of art that are were -- they were sort of the most important pieces. >> and this that we would tie them -- it's a very tricky thing to do a movie about art because it sounds like a civics lesson so you had to take a couple of important pieces, the alter piece, the brugge madonna and child which is michaelangelo's
and tie them directly to our characters. >> rose: and the race against time, too. russians are coming and they want the art. >> they lost 25 million people. they have every reason to believe that to the victor go the spoils. >> and we had to sort of back in into what was happening in the war. because there were certain things we agreed on you can't change. you can't change when the battle of the bulge was. >> you have to get the armies right. those things we had to get right >> rose: what was the great burt lancaster movie? >> "the train." >> that's much more isolated. it's a train leaving. but it's an interesting story because again how they really stopped the train was through paperwork.
but that's not nearly as interesting a film. it was fun because it was black and white when they were already making color films and burt lancaster coming back to a real physical film after about ten years of not doing it, it's a wonderful film. your character the the leader. is is he the guy who is responsible for the idea that we have to do something? >> george stout was the leader of the pack. it was his idea. but f.d.r. and eisenhower both were concerned because we had gone through this period of time where we had -- we were in a terrible dilemma at this point. we were now starting to prosecute the war in europe. we were starting to win some of these battles and the -- what's the building that -- >> rose: where the bombs destroyed it. >> and so what happens was suddenly you start to understand that the war is going to be over soon and we can't have destroyed
we, the allied forces-- can't have destroyed all of these great monuments in prosecuting the war and that caused great problems because our soldiers were at the bottom of the hill getting killed boy german soldiers who were hiding in that and they didn't want to bomb it is. so it became a big concern of eisenhower's and of roosevelts that -- that we make sure we try to protect what's left. try not to bomb -- tell us which buildings are the most important and not do that. >> rose: so how large an effort was this in terms of history? was it seven people, was it a hundred people? >> in reality there were a couple hundred throughout. >> rose: who were part of this over a period of time? >> and they were all civilians who were art his historians in life? >> yes. >> rose: nobody was a soldier who came to this group? >> no. >> and the book sort of focuses on these characters, these guys. but there were many, many more.
there was a whole group that went through italy just alone but if you look at what happened in florence where they blew every bridge except for the pont virginia tech owe over the water. >> rose: well, "paris burning" was about hitler planning to burn up paris. there's also that some-- a couple writers or bloggers that have have seen have always and validly so raised a question as to why there was not more done to get early to the holocaust and save some people there and that idea was that what kouchb done. and people make that compare spon not to a film but to history. you've seen those criticisms. >> well, there's some so many complicated things. the question that we get a lot asked is is a piece of art worth the lives of young men. and the answer is complicated because you could make the argument that if you got your
family out of the house and it was a great piece of art and it meant risking certain death, you might let that piece of art burn. but that's not what the movie is about and that's not what these men were about. what they were trying to say is that hitler and his group had decided that not only were they going to kill everybody but they are going to systematically take all of their history with them and if they didn't like it they were going destroy it and destroy all of it when he was losing the war. it wasn't enough that he had to kill anybody, he tried to make it like it didn't exist. >> rose: the legacy of a civilization is its art and advancements and if you can wipe that out -- and the interesting thing about this film is there's one more way we come to appreciate in this dialogue what art means to a culture and what it means to a civilization and how vital it is what the
contribution of artist is. and that's why the mission was undertaken in the first place. >> and we don't have -- there is no other historical record. there's books and there's writings and etchings on the wall and there's statues and paintings. they're worth -- there wasn't digital tape. so we don't have -- it is our record of history sot you can't just take it away. >> rose: tell me about the relationship in the film between bill murray's character and bob balaban's character. what's that relationship? >> that was a fun one for us to work on. >> rose: i'm seeing you sitting in a room figuring out how to write the characters. >> a desk just like this and posada its all over the wall. >> rose: and you write it together? >> we sit in the office all write it. >> rose: and tact parts? >> this was different. we did a lot of research with this one and we had a -- we have
a conference room we write in and it was just covered in photos, in maps. it was -- so, you know, we would say -- you know, when did this actually happen and we had it timelined. >> rose: it was complicated. but the fun part for us was, that you know, bill and bob who are such odd physically together and we knew we wanted somebody who would bug the hell out of bob and we knew bill would do it and bob is great at being the curmudgeon and the two of them together were -- and they just love each other. they're very good friends. it was so much fun when you see bill go like this to his helmet. >> rose: did anybody that you wanted find themselves unable to accept your gracious offer? >> we got exactly who we wanted. that was the beautiful part of it.
>> except for -- >> except for me. >> we wanted brad pitt and he wasn't available. >> right. so i took the job. sfrch. >> rose: when you talked to cate, what did you say to her? you went all the way to us a trail y'all to make your case. this is not an e-mail, is it? >> no. i had seen her in l.a. and we had dinner and i said i'm working on a screenplay i think you would be wonderful in and she said "let me know." so when we finished it, i got on a plane and flew to australia for a night, which is a long flight, and i went to see her in a play and after the play we had dinner. >> rose: she did the play probably directed by her husband. >> i think so. and then we went out and i gave her the screenplay and said "i hope you like it." and she called me up and said "i'm in." >> rose: that easy. >> and i have to say that's a pretty great thing. >> the other great thing is not working for their normal salarys in this film. george does not pay top dollar. except there's something on the
back end, i guess. >> hopefully. the music has to make -- the movie has to make money for it to be a back end. but grant and i have been doing this for a long, long time now which is most of our film wes do for not much more than scale. we keep the price way down in order to keep -- we're making films that are challenging to get made, you know? it was hard to get good luck made. it was hard to get "michael clayton" made. these movies are tough to get made. so you have to keep the budget way down in order to do it. "ides of march" was really tough to get made. so if you have to do it you have to go to people saying "listen, i'm not take anything money. we'll give you some but we'll give you a back end. in the movie makes money we all share in the profits." >> rose: and i can promise you you'll have a good time. how did you two guys first get together? >> we met at an acting class. >> at one point you wanted to be an actor. and off role in this. >> he was an incredibly successful actor. he starred in a lot of movies. and somewhere along the way he said this is not necessarily where i want my career to go.
>> rose: are well, there was a point in which you said you went into pa waiting room for an audition and it was like three lines and there were seven actors there and you thought -- "no what i want to do." >> warner brothers which is a place every actor spends a lot of time at auditioning and i was a kid and i was auditioning and siting across from me were about seven actors, guys who i'd seen all my life growing up. guys in "all in the family" and all these different shows and i thought to myself, you know, when i'm that age i don't want to be auditioning for three lines. >> rose: but the two of you began by -- i think you were doing auditioning and you called on him because you knew him and hey, let's do this together. >> "brighton beach." >> it was my first pay job ever was abc at the time was doing sort of like a -- it was a "star search" thing. it was basically like old contract players and they'd pay you $20,000 a year to be under
contract at abc and at that pot i was doing construction work and riding a bike toll auditions and grant and i were in acting class doing a scene called "brighton beach memoirs." and it was -- and we brought bunk beds on to the stage and we did it and it was fun and i ran into this guy named john crosby who was the head of casting at abc at the time on the beach and he was like "hey, john crosby head of casting, abc." >> rose: (laughs) >> and he goes we're doing a thing and if you want to go over to the 20 to 20-building in abc and audition, three minutes, no props. maybe we'll give you a go." so i said okay. and grant and i were doing this scene that was very successful in class and i was like what the hell? the worst thing that happened is i'll never work for abc, i've never worked for them already so >> rose: (laughs) that's right. >> so two other friends of ours, this is a big office building, very classy joint, we brought the bunk beds to the office and
when they called my name i go "let's go." and in the middle of the office we snap together in like 30 seconds bunk beds. and they're like "you can't do this." and we're like "it's okay." we did the scene, we knew the scene was good. john said "wait here." and he brought the other casting people in and they came in and they left and when i got home i got a call-- i didn't have have a phone machine, you have to call your agent. i called my agent and they said "they want to sign you to a contract." and that was it. >> and me? nothing, nothing. >> rose: and when you were with soderbergh and you had that company, you were there as well? >> uh-huh. >> rose: part of that. was there a moment that you said it's not that i don't want to be an actor but i enjoy this other part, too, the creative part of producing and directing. >> i made a short film and -- >> rose: that's right! >> and once i made the short film i knew that that's what i loved. when you're an actor, you just
thinking about your role. but when you get on the other side you realize there's a huge story to tell. >> rose: you know what bill murray said about you. >> uh-oh, i'm afraid. (laughs) >> rose: he said many things, which you'll see. but he basically said you come prepared. i mean the thing that he was amazed at that you showed up as a director ready because you have your own role. >> well, i don't -- i'm a big fan in being prepared for almost everything. it's hard to catch me surprised usually. i usually try to be prepared. before we did this show tonight i -- >> rose: really. >> grant played you. >> we were here an hour early. >> rose: there's no question i can ask that you haven't already figured out? that's unfortunate. i like responsibility nayty, too. >> really? >> rose: spontaneity. >> the directors that i've worked with that i've enjoyed the most. the coen brothers, soderbergh, alexander payne, they're so prepared. so you don't do many takes, i
know where the shots are, i've cut already everything in my head so we only shoot what we need and our days are short. for a film we have five or six hours days sometimes. >> it's not just being compared because a lot of directors are prepared but they don't necessarily make a great film. it's that george has a -- he has a point of view and he knows -- >> you talk about that. a point of view is important. >> he has a point of view. >> rose: you know the story you want to tell and the angle you want to come at. >> you want people to see the movie from where you decide the story should be told. watch "carnal knowledge" and you'll see candace bergen sitting in the middle and art garfunkel on either side and they do all the dialogue but the camera never goes off of her. >> rose: that's mike nichols. how do you grow as a director? >> by making lots of mistakes. sure you grow by going, oh, that was -- you'll see stuff you've
done and go i don't want to do that again. certainly by doing things you eel go i've done that and i don't want to do that again. not always bad, sometimes you've just done it. but also it's -- anybody who thinks you've got this figured out, you don't. you can look at any director and they'll tell you the same thing so you don't learn by successes. success is easy. success as an actor when you get great reviews as an actor -- you know. it's when they tear into you and you learn what to believe and what not believe, which is hard to learn. you learn -- and i still struggle with those kind of things. >> rose: we thought this was going to open in december and then it opens in february. why? >> well, the truth is we weren't ready to open. >> rose: there were other things you could dogd to make it a better movie. >> if you think about it, we started shooting this movie less than a year ago already. usually films are a year and a
half in post. is we were rushing. and the reality was it wasn't ready. it was the middle of october, we were at abbey road recording the sound track which is pretty great and we looked at each other and we s.a.t. down and i looked at grant and i said "we're not going to make it." and that's usually a very, very bad thing to say to a studio. >> rose: because they're feel, hey, it's not in the schedule and they fear people will read something into it. >> no, they don't care about that. they want this to be a commercial film. that wasn't the issue. the issue for them is they have a slot and when that you have slot you push other movies aside and you're ready for that slot. this is their christmas movie. >> rose: this was their christmas movie in >> it was going to be but "american hustle" did very well for them for christmas so they're fine. >> rose: (laughs) they're okay. >> and instead they happened to be great. so they said we're happy because
it's a bloodbath in december. let's go in february. >> rose: and you've gotten a huge amount of attention for this. >> they couldn't bt happier. we're thrilled. >> rose: but looking back as a director not in terms of what some critic has said but would you do something different about the way you made this film? is there a mistake or simply something that you didn't realize was an option at the time? >> i think it's probably too soon to reflect on the things the you've done. i made the movie -- grant and i made the movie we set out to make and we're thrilled with it. >> rose: was there much change under way once you started filming or did the script that you had pretty much where you went? >> no, the script didn't change. >> rose: what changes? >> well, we tend to overwrite so there were certain scenes that we decided we'll never use the scene in the movie, let's not shoot it.
let's not spend the time. and things change. mostly it's about the tone of the film. >> rose: you wanted to make this like a heist movie in part. and they're running against time and that's important. and there's something at the end that's worth going for. all of that. is that tone -- i mean you want not to be too much as you said a civics lesson but not even too much of a war movie. >> not too much of a war movie. we didn't want to do "schindler's list" and we didn't want to do "saving private ryan." we didn't want to blow people's arms off. i love those movies but that's not what this started out to be. the reason was because we wanted to tell these guys stories and we felt as if in order to make this successful, we wanted to do in the a version of film wes like. >> rose: my favorite scene in the movie is when you're talking to the german colonel. just repeat the line for me.
the essence of the conversation. you're going say to him -- there's a point that i'm going to be at a deli on the upper west side having my dinner. >> melvin's deli. >> because he won't tell me anything. >> and he's obviously a racist and anti-anti-semitic because what he says about. >> and what i don't know is that he is also responsible for kill mig best friend. and i never know that which is also kind of great. anti-semitic. but we captured him but i'm trying to get them to tell us about the art in the tunnel and then i -- and he says, you know -- and i said to him i heard before you did this you ran one of those camps and he said you're not jewish. you should thank me. i offer him a cigarette and he says "i don't smoke." then i say i don't smoke. and i tell a story about how i have an apartment in the upper west side and everyday i go to this place sid melvin's and get a nice bagel and cup of coffee
and read the newspaper and i think about it everyday i'm here and it will be the first thing i do when i get state side and i said i'm going to be sitting there reading the paper and when i look at page 18 of the "new york times," there's a tiny little blush and it will say that you were hanged for your crimes that you committed during the war and you were buried in an unmarked grave. >> rose: that's what i got. nobody will ever know ever again who you are. >> then i'll remember my first cigarette. because i take a cigarette. >> rose: let's look at some clips. show me first clips and we'll look and see what we have been talking about. here it is. >> monuments men radio is about to go live. >> i hope we play music. >> calling london, calling london and all the ships at sea. >> we read you loud and clear. >> how far will this thing reach? >> we'll find out tomorrow. >> roger that. >> are all the fella there is? >> they are.
>> all right, listen up, fellas because i think you should know the truth as i see it. this mission was never designed to succeed. if they were honest, they would tell us that. they'd tell us that with this many people dying, who cares about art? they're wrong because it's exactly what we're fighting for for a culture and for a way of life. you can wipe out a generation of people, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they'll still come back. but if you destroy their achievements and history then it's like they never existed. just ash floating. that's what hitler wants. and it's the one thing we simply can't allow. >> rose: a moment of history. hitler planned a museum in his
birs place in austria? the it was called the fuhrer museum. >> and in the bunker that he's in was a model of the fuhrer museum and he would go in and look at it and even in his suicide note he said even though i die i hope that you will finish the fuhrer museum. >> rose: and he was a failed painter, too, as we know. what's interesting, i think it was hess -- i mean -- who was the architect who was going to design it for him? the one who survived the war because he was captured. spier, albert spier. there is gehring character in the movie who was notorious for who he was but supposedly liked some kind of art. >> he had terrible taste in art. so he liked all this sort of big heavy sort of -- and another interesting thing about this was that hitler planned this for so long before he even began the
war in the late '30s he professors coming to paris saying we'd love to see your collection of art in these museums and they would go in the back rooms and they logged sofrg that they knew where all the art was and goring particularly would come in, i thi he went like 20 times, maybe more and he would pick the paintings and he would gol thpl goes to this place, which was his home. and this would go to the -- to hitler and -- >> rose: all of that. robert edsel came in with this nazi thing. >> the book. >> the book. all this aired last night here. all of these pages. >> he had those books with him in the bunker because he never got to put his hands on those paintings. he never got to touch the bruges ma madonna. >> rose: and what was the decree about another historical reference in which he ordered
everything -- >> basically he ordered everything to be destroyed. >> he was afraid that -- he didn't want everybody to have it. first of all, he didn't want the allies to have any of their things so he said destroy the bridges, your cars and tanks. >> rose: decree from the fuhrer that when i'm dead this shall happen. >> and it wasn't called the nero decree until after. >> as in nero rome burns. right. >> but he also -- he was burning the degenerate art, the reality is one of the very ambitious nazis when you got to the mine in -- he there -- that guy specifically took hitler's letter to mean "burn all the art." so he was on his way to -- and the miners who owned -- who had been working that mine for a thousand years got bombs and blew up the openings of the mines so the germanys couldn't destroy it. >> rose: what was it about putting hit in the mines to hide
it? >> remember, we were bombing the hell out of germany so they wanted to save it and they found salt mines in particular were actually very good -- >> as to preserve so that it doesn't deteriorate. >> yeah, they took better care of art than they did about everything else. >> rose: or giving rise to their own on seinesys. here's another scene which i want you to see because we've been talking about bill murray and bob balaban where they find nazi looted art at a german cottage. it's a great piece. here it is. >> they're looking for artifacts. they're trying to protect the historic pieces. >> it's an honorable thing. >> well, we think the ss took the great pieces of art out through france and are hiding it. >> but i told them you may be able to help. >> i wasn't ss, i was a soldier like you. if i can help you in any way -- >> do you know a corrector named
>> hile hitler! >> hile hitler! >> heil hitler. >> rose: you're proud of that scene? >> i love that scene. >> because you're looking at it with a great sense of -- because of the way it's ed ted as well as the way it's not? >> any time you do a scene with that many people around the table it's hard not to make it procedural and this is about what was said. it's an interesting story, though, because that character in the beginning of the movie, which is a true story, his name is bruges, i think, he was there with s, he was very dangerous and a terrible man. he did -- >> that was a brother or not? >> no, we made that up. but me did escape back into germany. one of the guys, one of the
monuments men broke a tooth, went to a dentist, the dentist said "my nephew knows about art." and they take him -- >> so that's how they found him! >> and they literally got the thing and found the art. so that's a completely true story. >> rose: because i wonder how he -- i had to go back and look and think about the first guy to make sure it was the same person because he's there in a very different way. >> very sweet. yeah. >> rose: but i just watched you. you loved writing. >> i love directing. it's the most creative thing i've ever been able to do. i think it's -- grant's directed films as well and it's -- if you're acting or you're doing one thing you're just -- you know, you're just part of a process. you're like the paint. and when you're directing you're the painter. you get to play with all the toys. the sound design and the camera and all those things. >> rose: i've asked you this
before. do you do it because you love it and it gives you different skills and colors or because at some point you know that to find the roles you most want to play will be less and so it's a kind of security? >> absolutely. there is that. but i could make the argument that, you know, there's only a certain amount of time you're allowed to be on camera and then they stop wanting to see you. >> rose: (laughs) but you want to be creative. i love the industry, i think it's an amazing job that we have. and i think grant and i feel the same way which was we want to be able to participate on this on a much different level than just being acura. >> and argo brings satisfaction, you guys produced argo and wouldn't be there without you and lucked into having ben be willing to do it not knowing. you liked anymore "the town."
you wanted them to direct and star. >> we were thrilled he wanted to do it. >> that's great pride, too. to be able to put something together and know you're responsible for it. >> it was great. wins an academy award. >> grant found the article, hired the writer, we worked on the screenplay with the writer for years and believe me nobody wanted to make that movie. we couldn't get anybody to make it. >> rose: and would they say to you make it if you're in it, george? >> sometimes, maybe. but i wasn't -- we were doing "ooidz of march" at the time and i was in the middle of working on something else and ben got ahold of the screenplay and said "i love this, can i do it?" and i was like "absolutely." >> he also -- we got on the phone with him during "ides of march" in detroit and he said i know how to make it, here's how i want to make it. and it was a little different than how we originally saw it and it was great. we knew it right away. >> rose: how important -- somebody once said that casting
is 85% of directing. a big part of it. >> rose: as long as you've got a good script. >> well, first you need a script because you cannot make a good film out of a bad script. >> and so first you have to have a good script and then you need to be lucky enough to get the right actors. now, again, they don't have to be the greatest actors, they have to be act thoors are right for the part. and that's an important part of that because that's the key is the people who are right for the part. >> rose: you -- you were bating 100. >> we got everybody we wanted. we couldn't have been happier. you show up on the set and it's just amazing. >> what is that? because tae respect you for the movies you've made because you've put together a group of people, they know they're going to have a fun time with so this will be not only an opportunity to practice their craft and do their craft and get paid for their craft but also to have an experience they know will be
different. because you create an environment around film making. not you're the only one but you're one of them. >> that's true and george mentioned this earlier. you know, this has got to be a good script because all these guys are -- you know, they're all smart guys and gals. they know how to read a script. >> they're in demand and they -- >> so it's got to be a -- and then once you get past that hurdle then they know george, they know me, they know that they're going to have a good time, we're not going to kill them >> and they also know that we are as responsible as we can possibly be with the product. i take -- grant and i both take great responsibility in the fact that we've gone to these actors, some of them are of you are ours and some of them we didn't know that well and we asked them to work for not a lot of money on the film that they're going to go to germany and england. we're conscious that-to-make the product they hope it will be. we don't want to let them down.
>> rose: once you got a rough cut do you show it to your friends? because a lot of people they have a group of people that want to see their film before they -- >> george is ridiculously fast. so he had a cut almost like two days after we were done shooting. >> once we were done shooting i screened the movie for a bunch of the people already. >> the people in the film or people you cared about? >> the people in the crew, the cameramen, the first a.d. people like that first just to say here's -- >> rose: this is where we are. >> you just wanted them to get a sense of some form of accomplishment already. and then you spend a few months working on it. it's very hard to screen movies that require a lot of c.g.i. in the background because it's hard to have an imagination like this is going to be inside -- >> when we saw gravity the first time -- >> oh, my god. we went to a test screen in "gravity" and it was like -- it's all effects and none of the effects were in
>> it was just the two of us in the theater and i was like "uh-oh, we're in trouble with this one." >> rose: (laughs) alfonso did a hell of a job as a filmmaker. >> he's never made a bad film. >> and again there's a film maker that i would drop everything and work with. >> rose: if he said i'm making a movie, george, i need you." >> he's got a point of view. >> and he's also -- >> rose: he a's never done anything like this. >> i know. when he first started he said "i was just going to do a couple guys hanging around. we could shoot in the a couple of months." two years of shooting. >> rose: and she's fantastic. >> we've known sandy for 25 years. we're all kicking around together. >> all three of us were on sitcom at the table. >> when we were in acting class i was 19. >> i was 20 2-1. >> rose: there is a story that you guys were running around the
country in some kind of bus or van playing golf and all of this stuff and having fun and doing whatever else you were doing and you got a call from somebody from abc or -- >> nbc. >> rose: nbc and said "it looks like we're going to have "e.r." on thursday night at 10:00. >> and at that time in the last 16 years there had been two shows, "hill street blues" and "l.a. law." that's a cradle of love time slot and they said "you got picked up for thursday night at 10:00." and i think it was you and i, wasn't it? >> so this is what happened. >> rose: i love this story. >> at this point there was no tour bus. >> it was a winnebago. >> george had a winnebago and i had just gone through a terrible breakup and we -- so we were driving across the country, we were in texas and george said i've got to check my messages. so at that point there's no cell phones, he pulls off the road. >> rose: call your answering
machine. >> and you have one of those little things that you beep into it. and he got backing in the car and he had this look on his face and he said "our show got picked up on thursday night. the" and he looked at me and he said "my life is going to change." >> it was a funny thing. >> rose: what was your life at that moment before? >> struggling actor. it's not instructing -- well, that's waiting on tables. i'd done seven television series but i wasn't -- nothing was catching. i wasn't -- i was making a good living but i wasn't -- i was getting to that age, i was 33, i was getting to that spot where you go it's going to have to happen pretty soon because i've been 12 years kicking around and not really catching. this is like the seventh banana on a bunch of shows. >> rose: you think this is a story shared by many people that there but for some act of it happening, some fortuitous circumstance, it's not luck
because you had to be good. >> oh, i think it's luck. if it was just about how brilliant you are there are an awful lot better, more talented. so the truth of the matter was it requires an immense amount of luck. i also played on that show, i had the romantic lead. tony edwards was the lead on the show but i had the romantic lead. and the romantic lead on the show is always -- garners a lot of attention and it was juliana and i had who had -- i was really in a spot where it felt like this was going to -- who knew we were going to average 40 million people a week? who knew it was going to be the thing that it became. but we knew we had a job for seven years. >> rose: it was your last television show. >> yeah. >> rose: what was the first movie. >> the first movie was "from dusk till dawn." i did -- you know, i did -- i think like nine films while
doing the t.v. series. so i would fly in and out. it was seven days a week for about five years. "from dusk till dawn" was very successful for me. then i did "one fine day" with michelle pfeiffer and that bombed. although it's not a terrible film but it bombed. then i did the first dreamworks film and then i did "batman and robin" and that was a disaster! >> rose: did you think, well, look, it's been nice but i -- >> i thought i was in trouble. >> because everybody -- it was always huge. >> i got clobbered and deservedly so. but i can say that it taught me everything from that point on. >> rose: like what? >> like -- well, up until that point i was still -- you think of yourself as an actor, you play batman, this is great. i call mid-friends, i'm batman! what are you going to play? batman! and you don't really consider the idea that, hey, i'm going to be in "ishtar!"
you just didn't know it was going to be a disaster. so after that i realized i'm going to be held responsible not for what i'm doing in the movies anymore but for the movie itself because i was part of the reason films would be green lit. so the next -- so i took about a year off of doing movies while i did the show and the next three movies i did while i was doing the show were "o brother where art thou" "three kings" and "out of sight." >> so did "out of sight." >> rose: actually i'm thinking of that. that you have scene wither in the restaurant. >> and "o brother where art thou" changed my career. because that was the first time -- >> rose: shown some versatility? >> rose: you've known this guy almost as well as anybody. how are you seen him change? >> grayer.
>> i don't think he has changed. >> rose: i mean what do people take on with success and choices they had qualities that are very attractive. and they grow in terms of skills you didn't know they had. certainly he's changed as an artist. but in terms of who he sort of is fundamentally, he always was the guy who would root for the underdog and would step in and do what was right but he has a better platform in doing that now. so that's just an extension of who he was. an exdifference what he got from his folks. you know his folks. >> rose: i was just thinking about that e-mail i sent you that i said look, it's your dad's 80th birthday, i'm going
to send him a note." and you wrote back and said "he doesn't have e-mail, he doesn't even have a typewriter. send him a letter or just tell me and i'll tell him." >> grant and i had been -- you know, he literally loaned me $100 to get head shots in 1982. we've been really close friends for a long period of time. i'm lucky enough to have as a partner a brilliant writer and also the best writers i've ever worked with in my life but the funniest thing is we'll work on a movie for nine months and we're together every single day all day and then we eat dinner for nine months and we've never had a singling fight. it's always just been like okay. >> rose: so that means love and trust and sense of loyalty. >> he's just -- on top of being a great friend and great guy he's also immensely talented.
i wouldn't -- i couldn't do a film without him. >> let's talk about global politics, what's happening with the -- the sudan and south sudan and satellite project. >> it's tricky now. we -- we try and step it up to infrared imagery so that we can see stuff at night and see stuff -- >> rose: from the satellite? >> from the satellite. it's pretty amazing. but we know it's very fairly effective because of the attacks in general were at night or during cloud cover. our big issue now is that in south sudan both sides including the side that was elected for their own -- are acting in a pretty bad way. and so our job now is to make sure that we've been doing it that we gather imagery from both sides and we put it up to hold both sides responsible not just one -- not just the people you would perceive to be the bad
guy. we have to hold people responsible. it's tricky right now. it's a very complicated time. it's the newest country in the world and it's messy and flawed. and our slope that it's -- >> all those elements of oil and everything else. >> your hope is a it's a success story like ghana. and not somalia when it's all said and done. >> but are you less hopeful now than you were say six months ago. >> less hopeful than six months ago. >> i'm not very hopeful because they worked so hard to get where they did. it's very similar in a way to what's going on in egypt now where in order to win that mubarak fight all of these factions who normally don't like each other, there's this great celebration and all this hope when it first happened. and then after a period of time those factions remember why they hated each other. >> rose: that is happening in
syria as well. >> did you see why al qaeda disowned another al qaeda branch? >> rose: jon stewart did a funny bit when you were going to appear last night or wherever. it's just al-zawahiri who succeeded bin laden saying we want nothing to do with those guys too. bad! jon goes -- >> that's too much. even for us. >> rose: beheading stuff is too far to go. what's the next film? do you know? >> we don't really know. >> we have a film that we're going to do probably in the summer that we're producing called "our brand is crisis." >> rose: what's that? >> it was based on a documentary. the it's -- who were the players? was it carville? >> it was carville and a bunch of -- you probably saw the documentary. >> rose: sure i did. >> and they go down to bolivia to run an american-style campaign. >> and they run an american-style campaign with all
the negative campaigning and they end up sort of getting the wrong guy in and he's overthrown in a couple of days. >> rose: is it hard to find projects that you really want to do? what's heart about it? there are a thousand grate stories? what is the most difficult part? knowing it has to have certain elements you can sell to a studio? >> that's been -- that's what we're -- i'd like to think that that's what we've done best is the movies that could just be made at a studio or not the movies we're making. we're trying to make the movies that unless we sort of force their hand wouldn't get made. and you force their hand by saying we'll do it for no money, we'll keep the budget down. that's the kind of films we're trying to make and when they take the toys away and don't let us do it anymore then we deal all the movies that -- >> rose: is he a hard worker? >> about the heartest worker i know. if you knew what his schedule was you would be shocked. the only other person who works as hard as him is you.
>> you work hard. >> rose: i do. i do. it's a pleasure to have you. >> it's great to be here. >> rose: thank you. how's your game? >> it's good, man. you and your duke game over here. >> rose: (laughs) i'll see you in august. thank you. much success with "monuments men." it's great to have you at the table. >> it's great to be here. >> rose: and to recognize the extraordinary contribution you've made to this partnership. >> i appreciate it. thank you. >> rose: thank you for join us. see you next time captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. brought to you in part by -- >> the street.com. founded by jim cramer, the street.com is an independent source for stock market analysis. cramer's action alerts plus service is home to his multimillion dollar portfolio. you can learn more at the street.com/nbr. triple digit rally, the dow marks the best day of the year after an upbeat reading on the job market. but tomorrow's employment report will be the real test. and could determine whether the rally keeps going. the road ahead, general motors reports a big profit miss. and with its global market share under pressure, will the new ceo of the largest u.s. automaker have to shift her focus? new recipes. shares of green mountain soar on